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CHILD OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT by Paula Young Shelton Kirkus Star

CHILD OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

By Paula Young Shelton (Author) , Raúl Colón (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Dec. 22nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-84314-3
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Civil rights can be a difficult topic, even for adults, so finding simple language to explain the complexity of injustice and oppression to children is challenging. Shelton, daughter of Andrew Young, accepts the challenge and rises to meet it, approaching the topic from the point of view of the child she was in the ’60s: a four-year-old girl living in the midst of the leaders who helped change the nation. While the linked free-verse poems appropriately omit potentially confusing information, they introduce readers to her parents’ friends—activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Cotton and Ralph Abernathy. The author’s language can pack a punch, as when she describes her parents’ moving the family from New York “back to Georgia, / back to Jim Crow, / where whites could / but blacks could not.” Colón’s illustrations are exceptional in their use of color and texture to convey emotions and situations. Thumbnail biographies of the leaders introduced demonstrate that their activism did not end after the Voting Rights Act, which concludes this account. Essential. (bibliography) (Picture book/memoir. 4-9)